MEDITATION INSTRUCTORS

“By relating with the spiritual friend, you are learning how to work with genuineness.” – Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, The Bodhisattva Path of Wisdom and Compassion

RECEIVE GUIDANCE FROM A MENTOR

Deep relationships with fellow practitioners are an honored part of the spiritual path. These relationships are with teachers, with sangha – your companions on this somatic tantric journey – and with meditation instructors, who mentor you along the way.

Your meditation instructor is committed to your awakening above all. They remind you of the beauty and purity of your buddha nature, they point out your blind spots and projections, and they help you to engage with everything that arises in your practice. They come to know you intimately and may become a lifelong spiritual friend.

Members who subscribe at the Foundation and Tantrika levels have the opportunity to work with one of the meditation instructors listed below. All of these meditation instructors are senior practitioners in the Dharma Ocean lineage and have been trained to provide spiritual mentoring. They volunteer their experience and skills, and in return, ask that you honor the relationship by committing to regular meditation practice and deepening your direct experience and understanding of the Vajrayana tradition.

To apply to work with a meditation instructor, first sign up for a Foundation Yanas Membership, or log into your account.

MEDITATION INSTRUCTORS

Jake La Botz

Senior Teacher,

Board President

After getting clean from drugs in 1999 Jake happily and luckily discovered the Dharma of Chögyam Trungpa.  A few years later he began working with Reggie Ray as his teacher and since 2006 has served as a Dharma Ocean meditation instructor. Outside of Dharma Ocean Jake has brought the teachings of this lineage to places as varied as colleges, prisons, Dharma centers, and private living rooms. He currently lives in St. Paul, MN with his wife and daughter.

CALLISTA BROWN

Senior Teacher,

Head of Studies

Callista has been a student of Dr. Ray’s since 2001. Since 2003, she has taught meditation in a variety of settings, including the Washington Corrections Center for Women and the Tacoma Tai Chi and Qi Gong Wellness Center. Her Dharma Ocean teaching includes Sutrayana and Somatic Descent. Since her studies at Naropa University, the Sutrayana teachings have been a primary resource for her life and an inspiration for her teaching. In Somatic Descent, she has found a doorway to an experiential understanding of the view of this lineage – inviting practitioners to enter this doorway brings her joy.

NORMAN ELIZONDO

Senior Teacher,

Retreat Center Director

Norman lives and works in Crestone, CO at Blazing Mountain Retreat Center. He has been a daily meditator since 1994 when he began his training and practice in the Theravada tradition. He has been a student of Reggie Ray since 2001 and began studying and training with Dharma Ocean since its inception.  With more than 20 years of experience in wilderness therapy, he is regarded as an expert in working with at-risk adolescents, struggling young-adults  and their families. Norman offers the teachings in a way that is clear, simple and that invites students to trust and explore their experience.

Languages: Tagalog, English, Spanish, French, Italian

VICHAK PANICH

Teacher

Vichak began his meditation training in the Forest Tradition of Ajarn Buddhadasa. In 2004, he met Reggie at Naropa University and has been his student ever since. He returned to his native Thailand to found Vajrasiddha, a buddhist center in Bangkok. The center was established as an educational space with a focus on meditation, contemplation of the heart, and the exchange of human experiences between students. Vichak’s aspiration is to bring the living dharma back to Asia. He is a dharma translator and offers the teachings of this lineage in Thai.

Languages: Thai, English

Maria Vargas

Teacher

Maria Vargas is a long-time student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Dr. Reginald Ray. Out of gratitude for these life-enriching, life-changing Buddhist teachings, she dedicates herself to help making them available to others in both English and Spanish. Maria is a native Coloradan and lives in the Boulder area.

Languages: Spanish, English

LIBBY WEATHERS

Teacher

Libby has been studying and practicing with Reggie Ray since 2007. Outside of Dharma Ocean, Libby trains business leaders in developing purpose and presence through mindfulness and neuroscience. The depth of continued awakening over her years of study and practice inspires her dedication to this lineage. Libby is deeply connected to the natural beauty, warm waters, and sacredness of Hawaii where she spends most of her time.

LINN LILLSUNDE

Instructor

Linn Lillsunde was born and raised at a Tibetan Buddhist center in Stockholm. She started formal meditation at the age of twelve, became a student of Dr. Ray in 2010, and has since led retreats in France and Germany. What most attracts Linn to the Dharma is its possible application to everyday life. Whatever experience we might have, there is always an opportunity for insight into our human condition. Linn lives in Paris, France, where she works as a professional violinist.

Languages: Swedish, French, English

JIM KELLY

Instructor

Jim Kelly lives in the Hudson Valley of upstate New York.  During his working life Jim was first a dancer, and then a businessman, and lawyer. He had his dharma awakening to the nature of reality some 45 years ago.   He met Reggie Ray and Dharma Ocean in 2013 and since then has been a consistent and devoted practitioner of somatic meditation while also following a Vajrayana path and practice.  Jim has taught Hatha yoga, and currently studies Tibetan language and Tibetan yoga. He enjoys gardening, building, walking, travelling, and being outside in nature as much as he can be.

CAROL YOUNG

Instructor

Carol lives on a small island off the coast of Maine. She is partially retired from her work of providing trauma counseling to Portland’s Police and Fire Departments First responders. She has been studying the Dharma in the Lineage of Trungpa Rinpoche since 1983.

JUSTIN DITURI

Instructor

Justin lives in Lafayette, Colorado. He began practicing Buddhism and sitting meditation in the tradition of Chögyam Trungpa in the late 1970’s. Since that time he has had the opportunity to attend a number of week-long and month-long meditation retreats in the meditation style taught by Chögyam Trungpa, and also had the opportunity to study with Reggie Ray. In 2004 he began integrating into his practice the somatic practices, and Meditating with the Body protocols, which Reggie was teaching. He is particularly interested in how the somatic practices support and enhance traditional Vajrayana practices. 

DONALD STIKELEATHER

Instructor

Donald is a Sadhaka in the Dharamsagara lineage and has been practicing meditation with Reggie for 20 years after meeting him at Naropa while working on his Master of Divinity. He has been offering meditation instruction for 16 years, and is an Ordained Chaplain, and has worked with students with chronic illness, depression, anxiety and meditation struggles. This year he will finish a Master of Marriage and Family Therapy. He lives in the Louisville area. 

Barbara Ohlendorf

Instructor

Barbara has been a meditation practitioner since the 1980s. After training in somatic psychotherapy, she was drawn to Reggie Ray’s somatic work and has been his student since 2010. As a Vajrayana student, she is devoted to studying and practicing the teachings of this lineage. Barbara has served Dharma Ocean in many capacities—one of her favorites being that of Meditation Instructor. She enjoys working with individuals on their personal journey. She lives in Northern California in the town of Davis, where she occasionally holds trainings in somatic meditation.

Everett Wilson

Instructor

Everett Wilson is a writer and poet living in Crestone, Colorado with his wife Anoushka and their two dogs, Luna and Eevee. He came to Dharma Ocean after five years of monastic Zen practice at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in California, and has been a tantrika with Dharma Ocean since 2012. He finds Reggie’s somatic approach to meditation and opening up the life of the heart has profoundly deepened his experience of the world.

USANEE NUCHANONG

Instructor

In 2012, after being intrigued by one of Reggie’s articles translated into Thai by Vichak Panich, Usanee flew from Bangkok to attend the one-month winter Dathün. This set her out on a journey to gently meet the fear and anxiety in her body. Her personal journey to complete an M. Div. program at Naropa University in 2023, which among other things granted her access to Buddhist classical texts, made her appreciate how this lineage speaks Buddhism in today’s contemporary language. She is grateful for being reminded that to be truly who you are is to be present to our life as it is, and that ultimately we all can.

Languages: Thai, English

REBECA CASTELLÁ

Instructor

Rebeca has been studying and practicing with Dharma Ocean since 2006. It was burn-out from a high-paced corporate job that brought her to the path. She connects deeply with Meditating with the Body practices, and has been sharing them with others through holding groups, working with people one-on-one, and leading retreats, since 2011. After a decade in Colorado, she moved back to Europe to live on the island of Ibiza, Spain. Rebeca’s life is dedicated to opening minds through sharing the dharma as a Mindful Living Coach, a Meditation Instructor and a Dharma Translator. 

Languages: Spanish, Swedish, English, French, German, Italian, Catalán

 

JULIE MURPHY

Instructor

Julie Murphy lives in rural Santa Cruz, surrounded by redwoods. She has been studying and practicing in the lineage of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche since 1993. Julie met Reggie Ray in 2007 and became his student the following year. Meanwhile, she has practiced Hakomi Mindful Somatic Psychotherapy for 35 years and is a senior trainer for the Hakomi Institute. Julie finds the somatic and tantric practices, as taught by Reggie and Caroline, to be deeply and powerfully enlivening and transformative. In addition to Buddhist practice, Julie pursues the contemplative forms of poetry, painting, and, more recently, Tai Chi.

CHRISTY SMITH

Instructor

Christy’s first experience of practice was a surprise introduction to a knowing; both that a deep longing had been met and that this was the opening she had been searching for. It was so compelling! Her first Dharma Ocean retreat was in 2005. Christy resides in western New York State and delights in working as an elementary school teacher. She has a deep love for and a lifelong study of the Spanish language.

Languages: English, Spanish

KATJA RUEBSAAT

Instructor

Katja had been studying Buddhism for a couple of years when she came across the German edition of Touching Enlightenment and immediately felt a strong connection to Reggie’s teachings. She started her journey with Dharma Ocean in 2016 with the first Awakening the Body program and became a DO meditation instructor in 2024. Katja lives in Germany, Europe with her dog and cats and works in trauma-sensitive and somatic coaching. She is also engaged in supporting the European Sangha.

Languages: German, English

RICHARD MALCOLM

Instructor

Formerly a wilderness guide, Richard practices psychotherapy and intensive trauma treatment in Colorado.  He was lucky enough to learn meditation from a Theravadan nun in high school, has been seriously engaging the Dharma for 15 years, and has been working with Reggie and Caroline since a Mahamudra for the Modern World retreat in 2014. He has found the Foundation Yana teachings to be helpful for patients in residential and outpatient treatment. Now a tantrika, Richard has recently been focused on solitary retreat, and finds the Kagyu lineage teachings as delivered by Reggie to be increasingly surprising and transformative in all realms of life.  

DAVE KOTINSLEY

Instructor

Dave Kotinsley has been studying Somatic Meditation with Reggie Ray and the Dharma Ocean lineage since 2011. He has also been in recovery from addiction since the late 90s with the help of the 12 steps. Inspired by his own experience with somatic practices as stabilizing forces in his own life, Dave has offered these practices to people over the years both individually as well as through meet ups and workshops. Dave is a husband and a father of two young boys. He has been working as a professional tattoo artist and visual artist for 25 years and loves painting, playing music, writing, and adventuring with his family. He has lived and worked in Gainesville, Fl. since 1996.

KASPER HERTZ

Instructor

Kasper bumped into a short audio clip of Reggie in 2015 and has been practicing and studying the somatic teachings ever since. Daily practice at home, and solitary retreats in the family house on the Spanish island of Mallorca, have become a main pillar in his life. Located in central Copenhagen, Kasper works as an architect and enjoys the shore environment of the city on his electric bike.

Languages: Danish, English

Andreas Hülsmann

Instructor

When Andreas discovered Dharma Ocean through Reggie’s recorded programs and the online courses in 2016 after 25+ years of zen practice, everything started to fall into place and the journey started to unfold. The somatic practices of this lineage were precisely what he needed in order to learn how to get out of his head and into the body, and, hence, life itself. So now he is eager to share what he has found (and continues to find). He lives with his wife and daughter in the town of Kassel in the heart of Germany where he teaches Spanish and French at a local high school.

Languages: German, English, Spanish, French

J REED

Instructor

J. Reed has been practicing meditation for over 20 years, studying with Dharma Ocean since 2008. He finds inspiration in the observation of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche that in life “all phenomena are completely new and fresh and absolutely unique”, and that “the whole universe is open and unobstructed, everything mutually interpenetrating.” Although located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, J. is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee where he teaches classes on subjects at the intersection of technology, democracy and public discourse.

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